What I Miss From My Childhood in Texarkana
Like everywhere, Texarkana has changed a lot over the past 40 years.
I am a lifelong resident of the Twin Cities, having been born and raised here. Besides missing my Dad and grandparents, whom I think about nearly everyday, I also miss some of the things and places of my childhood here in Texarkana.
I was thinking the other day about the way it was when I was a kid in the late 60s and early 70s. The city has obviously grown a bunch since then particularly to the north and the west. Back then, they were just building Interstate 30 through our area, so there were not a lot of businesses in the area that are now the bustling section of town north of the interstate.
Who remembers the fact that there was a rolling field with horses where Central Mall now sits? Or the pastures and cows that roamed the area that now features the shopping complexes west of Richmond Road and north of Interstate 30?
When I was young, fast food franchises really had not hit here yet. I remember the pre McDonald's time. There were the two locations of Rawleigh Burgers, one of them near New Boston Road and Westlawn Drive, and the other on Highway 59 in Liberty-Eylau.
There was a Charcoal Broiler at the corner of Texas Boulevard and State Line Avenue. Luby's Cafeteria was in Oaklawn Village and Bryce's at the time was downtown.
In the 60s and early 70s, downtown was still a thriving place, along with Oaklawn Village. I remember going to the downtown J.C.Penny and going to the first drive thru bank in town that was actually underground.
Sears and Belk-Jones, along with Montgomery Ward department stores were in Oaklawn Village. These were the years prior to Walmart, where we had a lot more individual stores it seems.
I remember my grandparents taking me with them to grocery shop at the A&P or at neighborhood Piggly Wiggly stores where they garnered S&H Green Stamps, which they would paste inside a booklet and turn in for various items.
Does anyone remember the Burger Chef that was at the corner of Summerhill Road and New Boston Road prior to the first McDonald's in town? The very first Kentucky Fried Chicken opened up to the west of that on New Boston Road in the early 70s. The Hush Puppy Restaurant and its catfish fillets was located on Highway 71 just south of the Red River. I remember eating there and looking out the windows at the cows in the pasture that were right behind the restaurant.
Lastly, I remember from my childhood, my dad worked as a clerk at the Cotton Belt Railroad when they had an office in Texarkana. The office building was right next to tracks at the downtown train station. It basically sat where the Bowie County Jail Annex now operates. I recall on some Saturdays my dad needed to go down to the office to do a little extra work. Since it was the weekend, and no one else was there, he would take me along.
I can still envision the old office where you walked up a flight of stairs, and the smell of the building. And I can see the rows of desks with their typewriters and other office equipment of the day. I still remember opening the windows and looking at and listening to the sounds of the trains at the station while my dad finished his work.
If only I could just go back for a day and relive those days and spend some more time with my Dad and grandparents and experience those things in Texarkana that I so vividly recall from my younger years. Of course, I hope my kids today will look back 40 years from now and cherish their memories of Texarkana with their dad, spending time with me and their trips to that fascinating old radio station.